Intentional Living

Last time I talked about default living which I define as going through the motions without much attention or intention.  I believe that if we choose to live intentionally, then we can make a large impact on the quality of our life with limited effort.  (Note:  limited effort, not no effort!)

When people start living intentionally, things can change pretty quickly.  Now for some people the idea of change is a pretty uncomfortable idea.  I’ve spoken to many clients over the years that came in looking for change, but when they realized the only person/thing they can change is themselves, it takes on a whole new meaning.  I have had people leave therapy because they admitted they really were not ready for change.  And that is fine!  It is good to recognize where you are and what you really want. If that is all they got from coming to therapy, that was worth a lot!

It is equally important to recognize what you are willing to do to get what you want.  Once you have identified “this is what I want”, then it’s time for a reality check.  What changes are you willing to make to get what you want?  For some of us, the answer is nothing.  We don’t want to have to do anything different.  This is where the willingness part comes into play.   “I want things to be different, but I am not willing to make any changes in order for that to happen” is a message I have heard all too often in my practice.  No wonder people get frustrated, and I used to get frustrated right along with them!

Then, I decided I was going to start living intentionally.  I was going to be more conscious of my own choices and decisions and I was going to take more control of what and how I was living my life.  I have been a counselor for over 28 years and I still love what I do!  I have maintained that love by making sure that I am living intentionally every day and encouraging others to do the same.  When my intention became to help others as much as they would allow me to help them, things got much easier.  I was better able to recognize what belonged to me (my part of the session) and what belongs to them (their issues).  I gave up doing more for others than they are willing to do for themselves.  And therapy became fun again, because I am more aware and more intentional in my approach.  It helps the clients also because I am very open with what belongs to me and what belongs to them. This sets good boundaries between me and my clients and helps both of us with setting achievable goals.

Whatever your profession is, if you are very intentional about how you go about your business, it creates a change in how we think about things and therefore a change in our actions.  Over time, this becomes a big improvement and allows us to think clearer and act instead of react to situations.  And the best part is, things just get better and better!

By the way, this works in our personal lives also and I will talk more about that next month.  I am going to devote the month of May to intentional living and some activities and ideas to help move us all more in that direction.  Think about being more intentional and create a great day!

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